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Giving Thanks

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Thanksgiving1

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to reflect and give thanks to all who make our lives better by just being in them!  To all of our supportive member wineries and their staff, all of our growers, our affiliate members and our entire family of partners – and to You – our treasured guests (without whom we wouldn’t exist!), please accept our humble thanks.

If there are any out there who would give thanks to NOT have to cook, you can thank both South Coast Winery and Thornton Winery for doing it for you.  Both are accepting reservations for turkey day dinner now.  Trust me, they’re better at this than most of us!  And if you need a good nights rest after all the over-indulging, Wilson Creek Manor is offering some fantastic rates for which you’ll be truly thankful.

The day after Thanksgiving, aka, Black Friday, bring your family and friends out for a day in wine country.  All of our wineries will be open for the entire weekend – and many are offering once a year discounts on some fabulous wine for the holidays.  Special Black Friday sales events are going on at Cougar, Danza del Sol, Europa Village, Leoness, Lorimar, Oak Mountain, Ponte and Robert Renzoni wineries.  I mean, really!  Where else can you taste before you buy, but at a winery?

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Dream Big ~ John Thornton, Thornton Winery

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with a Temecula Valley winery owner. You’ll learn where they came from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous life of a winery owner.

The Thornton Family l-r:  Steve, Sally and John

The Thornton Family
l-r: Steve, Sally and John

Our ongoing series this month features John Thornton, of Thornton Winery, one of the valley’s “first”, which opened for business way back in 1988.  Learn why, after almost 30 years, “Mr. T”, as he’s lovingly known to us, still lives and breathes wine.

Why – or how on earth! – did you get into the wine business? And why was Temecula your chosen region?
Well, Sally and I used to travel extensively on business and everywhere we’d visit, we’d try to eat and drink local.  We loved the social aspect of food and wine together.  We thought, “Hey, we can start our own place and offer food and wine and it’ll be easy.” Boy, were we WRONG!  At the time, Ely Callaway was marketing Temecula as the perfect place to make wine and although the area had a small wine industry, we did some research and it did appear to be a “natural” fit for a wine country and poised for growth.

Running a small family winery – even one that’s been around for awhile like Thornton has – must present a unique set of challenges. What keeps you up at night? And what gets you up in the morning?
I think some of the same things that keep most business owners up at night; but for us it’s how to sell our wine, what wines to make, how to keep our customers happy, cash flow….but Steve works this part of the business, so I sleep pretty darn good!  What gets me up in the morning?  I get excited about the challenges in the business actually.  Challenges can be opportunities and we can take a challenge and turn it into something positive.

What do you MOST love about the wine industry?
What I love most about the wine industry is the people.  There are some of the nicest and most genuine people in this industry.  Another thing about this industry that is so great is sharing food and wine with friends;  it’s a wonderful thing.  You add music to that, and you’ve got the perfect combination.

Speaking of music, Champagne Jazz has been a staple in the music industry – and at Thornton – for almost 30 (!) years. Are you proud with its effect on our little wine country?
When we started Champagne Jazz, we never expected it to be what it is today.  It’s had a long life and it’s taken years and a lot of hard work to formulate.  It’s a continuous challenge to combine a food, wine and musical experience that will appeal to a broad audience.  We’re really proud that we’re bringing in some of the best jazz performers in the world.

Cafe Champagne was THE first restaurant in wine country. That must present its own unique opportunities and challenges?
Our biggest challenge was learning the food business.  It’s a tough business.  You’ve got to do a lot of research and make sure that you’ve got what people want.  You’ve got to come up with menus that appeal to customers and you’ve got to make the prices competitive in order to bring the people in.  The restaurant was originally “high-end”, but it’s now more casual.  Steve’s been teaching me that it isn’t always about what I want!  The customer is always right.  We’ve got to listen to them, try to pair the food and wine well, and make them happy.  We’ve got a lot more competition with our neighbors now, and while this is inevitable, it just keeps us planning and adapting.  We’re watching the valley get better and better and it’s exciting to watch!

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Thank a Winemaker Day!

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Thank a Winemaker Day!

Anatomy of Winemaker

Gus Viszgirda, Wilson Creek winemaker

A recent photo shared by Wilson Creek Winery, “The Anatomy of a Winemaker”, created by winemaker, Gus Viszgirda, certainly gave us all a laugh. But it also made us think…

Clearly, making great wine is a hands-on profession. And the picture truly illustrates what our winemakers look like to us on any given work day. Gone is the clean clothed, shiny shoe’d, wine sipping winemakers most of our visitors are accustomed to seeing. Most of the time, they’re rubber boot wearing, wine stained cellar dwellars who are dragging hoses, cleaning tanks and topping barrels – all which are part of a days work. Truth be told, most days you couldn’t slap the smile off their faces.  Winemaking truly is a labor of love!

So, in their honor, we’ve decided to declare today, “Thank A Winemaker” day! Let your favorite winemaker know how much you appreciate all the effort that goes into each bottle. Without their dedication, what would we be drinking???

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Being Water-Wise

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

With the drought situation that the state of California is facing, visitors often ask how the lack of rainfall affects our vineyards.

Well, other than the earliest harvest that anyone can remember, the effect on the wine grapevines in the Temecula Valley has been pretty minimal. Most of our wineries reported little to no change in crop size, primarily due to some perfectly-timed early season rain that helped with fruit set in the spring.

As a perennial crop, wine grapevines are a highly efficient, relatively low, water use crop.  And as long standing, good stewards of the land, Temecula Valley’s winegrape growers have focused on water conservation for decades.

We actively encourage the use of sustainable practices that notably conserve water; in particular is the use of drip irrigation systems in all of our vineyards. A valley-wide system of weather stations, complete with soil moisture probes which use sensor technology to determine the level of soil wetness, are located in various vineyards throughout wine country. Our winemakers and vineyard managers have daily access to this data, which allows them to make informed decisions for irrigation.  Temecula Valley vineyards are primarily watered at night and we practice deficit irrigation, which encourages deep rooting.  We also manage the cover crops that grow between the rows of grapevines to mitigate any competition with the grapevines for water.

It’s also important to note that drought cycles are typical in California and that agriculture somehow, continually adapts. Grapevines can withstand drought conditions for a number of years before they feel any ill effects.

Being water wise in our everyday lives – be it in our homes or in our communities – should be the ‘norm’ for each of us. Water is a truly precious commodity that we all need to protect.

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Celebrating the end of the 2014 harvest season!

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

fall vineyards 2014

Sick of hot summer days? Well, you’re in luck. Astronomically speaking, anyway!

Okay, so we haven’t unpacked anything winter yet, we’re not closing our windows at night, and there’s really no crispness in the air, but autumn really is here! Autumnal Equinox, that key moment in the earth’s annual orbit, when day time and night time are equal in length, arrived on September 23rd. And “weather” we like it or not, it signals the beginning of fall.

And for us here in wine country, it signifies the end of our harvest season. Just about everything in the valley is picked, crushed, punched down and pumped over. The wines have settled down for their long winter’s nap, all snug in tank or barrel. The winemaker’s work is done. Ha! Not really, but at least now they can get a day or two off and enjoy some well-deserved rest.
hBut what do WE do? We get ready to celebrate! And make merry we will, at our upcoming Harvest Celebration on November 1 and 2, 2014. Not only commemorating the end of the harvest season, but re-tasting all those unfinished wines that were barrel sampled last year which are now bottled and ready for release.

So join us for two, fun-filled days of wine and food sampling at our 30+ member wineries. Tickets are on sale now. Don’t miss out!

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California Wine Month

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Knowing that California is celebrated for its scenic beauty and lifestyle – and in celebration of the upcoming California Wine Month in September – the Wine Institute recently shared “10 Reasons To Love California Wine”.

California Wine Month 2014

California Wine Month 2014

Actually, we can think of hundreds of reasons to love our wines, but see what Wine Institute has to say here!

You can celebrate California Wine Month, Temecula style all month long with SIP passports, which allow ticketholders to choose any four wineries to taste, any day, for just $40!  Or, join us for CRUSH, our annual wine and culinary showcase on September 13, 2014, at Wiens Family Cellars.  Either – or both – are great ways to celebrate Septembers’ California Wine Month and offer two additional reasons to love California wines.

 

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Temecula Valley Wines on the Road

Monday, August 11th, 2014

ToM-Logo-300x284

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, you’ll find Temecula Valley wines at the 25th Annual Taste of Mainstreet in downtown Encinitas. Representing the Temecula Valley at various storefront “Sip Stops”, Baily, Callaway, Danza del Sol, Europa Village, Falkner, Hart, Leoness, Monte De Oro, Vindemia and Wiens wineries will be pouring their award winning wines. Advance tickets are just $35, including food, wine and beer (for those 21+). Same day tickets (if available), will be $45. Click here for ticket information.

uncorked

And on Saturday, August 23, 2014, from 4-7pm, you’ll find us at the Uncorked Wine Walk at Westfield UTC. Here you’ll savor wines from 12 Temecula Valley wineries including Bel Vino, Callaway, Falkner, Hart, Leoness, Lorimar, Maurice Car’rie, Oak Mountain, Palumbo, South Coast, Vindemia and Wilson Creek while tasting bites from UTC’s newest restaurants. Tickets are still available; purchase them here.

We hope to see you there!

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LAWineFest + Temecula Wines

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

The 9th Annual LAWineFest is this weekend!

Happening May 31 and June 1 at Hollywood’s Raleigh Studios. With hundreds of wines, craft brews and spirits on offer, the weekend-long festival is a relaxed, welcoming setting for people to explore the world of wine and more, alongside cool L.A. food trucks, live bands and handcrafted goods. LAWineFest proudly supports local organizations while serving as the Southland’s signature celebration of wine, beer, spirits and food.

Temecula Valley wines will be featured in their very own booth!  The region is proudly pouring:

REDS
Callaway Vineyard & Winery: Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Miramonte Winery: Tempranillo
Lorimar Winery: Trio – Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Mourvedre
Hart Winery: Syrah

WHITES
Falkner Winery: Sauvignon Blanc
Cougar Vineyard & Winery: Vermentino
Vindemia Vineyard & Estate Winery: Regatta de Blanc

SPARKLING
Wiens Family Cellars: Sparkling Amour De L’Orange
South Coast Winery: Sparkling Pinot Grigio

Be sure to stop by the Temecula Wines booth to sample all your favorites and try something new!

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Reminder: Grape Day is Thursday, April 17

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Temecula Valley’s 31st Annual Grape Day Conference is taking place this Thursday, April 17 at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa.

All viticulture professionals and enthusiasts are welcome. This includes winemakers, winery & vineyard owners, managers and anyone with an interest in the California wine industry.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
7:30a-4:30p

Click here for the conference agenda

Purchase Grape Day tickets here.

Ticket price includes:continental breakfast

  • Educational seminars from California enology experts
  • Lunch
  • Vendor exhibits
  • Wine and cheese reception

 

SEE YOU THERE!

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Temecula Wines Win in San Francisco!

Friday, February 7th, 2014

 

 

 

 

The 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition results are in! One of the largest wine competitions in America, this annual wine event received 5,000 entries from 1,500 wineries all across the country.

We are pleased to announce several winners from Temecula Valley, CA:

  • Callaway Winery won 2 golds, 3 silvers and 1 bronze for their 6 entries: Syrah, Rosé of Sangiovese, Muscat Canelli, Roussanne, Profonde and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Falkner Winery won silver and bronze for 3 of their wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Meritage and Rosato.
  • Monte De Oro won 1 gold, 3 silvers and 2 bronze for: Petite Sirah, Simplexity, Congruity, Cabernet Sauvignon, Synergy 65 and Syrah.
  • Last but not least, congratulations to Vindemia for winning the gold for their Petite Sirah!

 

Check out the full list of winners here.

 

Come experience these award-winning Temecula wines firsthand – plan your trip today!

 

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